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Upcoming elections holding back businesses: US Exim Bank head

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 21:42

Mumbai: The US Exim Bank head Fred Hochberg on Tuesday said there is more clarity in policymaking now in India but businesses are still adopting a "wait-and-see" approach in the wake of upcoming general elections in the country.

The polls are scheduled for next year.

"The path seems clearer today than it did five to six months ago. I'd say it (the picture) is clearer today than it was six months ago," Hochberg, the chairman and president of the US Export-Import Bank, told reporters here.

However, the head of the bank which finances importers, said this is not translating into a change in the attitudes of businesses, who are adopting a "wait-and-see" policy considering the upcoming general elections.

"There is some degree of caution right now. There is a little bit of wait-and-see in terms of immediate prospects... We have this in our country, when we have an election, people are just waiting to see how the elections turn out. My hunch is that this is a great democracy and they are probably not as different from what goes on in the US before a major election," he said.

Specifically, he said there is a "pause" in the solar projects, where US Exim Bank lays a big stress on funding renewable energy imports.

Hochberg had earlier visited the country in January and now he has come as part of secretary of state John Kerry's delegation.

He will visit the upcoming USD 9-billion facility of Reliance Industries at Jamnagar tomorrow, for which his bank has announced a commitment of USD 2 billion.

Meanwhile, Hochberg reiterated the bank's demand for getting to use debt recovery framework like the provisions of the Sarfesi Act, as any other lender does.

"We simply want a level-playing field with other financial institutions. Whether it be Indian banks, or the ADB or the IFC, what we are seeking is to just be on a level-playing field...We are still looking to make progress on that," he said.

US Exim Bank is liaising with the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank mandarins to be covered under the law.


First Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 21:42
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